Car accidents are not always the fault of a single driver. In fact, in many crashes, both drivers are determined to have played a role in causing the crash. When this happens, neither driver will be awarded full compensation for his losses. Instead, a percentage of fault will be assigned to each driver, and eligibility for compensation will depend upon that. How eligibility is determined will depend on the state where the accident took place. In Texas, the law of modified comparative fault is followed.
Types of Comparative Fault Systems
The following three types of comparative fault systems are used around the country:
- Pure contributory negligence. Only followed in four states, this system says that no compensation can be recovered if you are even 1 percent at fault for the accident.
- Pure comparative fault. Just 13 states follow this system, which says that you can recover damages even if you are 99 percent at fault, but your award will be reduced by the amount of fault you are assigned.
- Modified comparative fault. The majority of states (33) follow one of two variations of this system. Those following the 50% Bar Rule say that you may not recover damages if you are 50 percent or more at fault. Your damages will be reduced by your degree of fault. The remaining states—including Texas—follow the 51% Bar Rule, which works the same way as the 50% Bar Rule but sets the threshold at 51 percent.
How Modified Comparative Fault Works in Texas
Known officially in Texas as “proportionate responsibility,” this system can be confusing for injured victims of car accidents. As an example of how a shared-fault car accident recovery would work in Texas, consider the following. You were seriously injured in a crash on East Loop 820 when a car cut into your lane suddenly and you hit him. The responding officer cited the other driver for reckless driving but also cited you for speeding. You decided to seek damages from the other driver, and a jury decided you were 20 percent at fault because you were speeding. This means you can still recover from the other driver, but you will only get 80 percent of the total damages. If those are determined to be $50,000, you will receive $40,000.
You Need an Attorney by Your Side
When you are injured in a car accident in Texas and are assigned partial blame, you will need an attorney to help you fight for your right to a fair recovery. From the original traffic citation to the hearing to determine degree of fault, an experienced car accident attorney can argue on your behalf to maximize your settlement. Call the Parker Law Firm to see if we can help.